Charity collaboration nets benefits.
How about eating and drinking a couple of new, Columbus-only things designed to be delicious but also benefit your health and community? After reading about this promising proposition, I did a little investigation into the matter.
Three players are involved: Fusian — a Cincinnati-created, fast-casual sushi-specialist now based in Columbus; Alchemy Juice Bar + Café — which shares ownership with The Crest Gastropubs; and Local Matters — a local non-profit organization focused on the impact “food has on the quality of our health, our land and our communities.”
The plan this group has developed is to donate a dollar from all sales of a specially created roll and smoothie — both available through February — to Local Matters and the healthful food program it oversees at Moler Elementary School on the South Side. Sounds good, right?
My first stop was to the bright, trendy and upbeat Clintonville branch of Fusian. Gazing above its Chipotle-style bins managed by very friendly servers, I noticed that most of Fusian's pre-designed rolls cost $8. The special I came to sample is called the Superfood Roll, and it's $9.
It's a big and colorful, plant-celebrating maki-style roll with crowd-pleasing textures and easy-to-like flavors — even for people who don't normally gravitate to sushi or nutrient-rich foods. Drizzles of berry-like dragonfruit sauce, crunchy puffed quinoa (think healthier, smaller Rice Krispies) and a gentle sprinkle of clover-leaf-resembling local micro kale make pleasant garnishes. Underneath are nori (could be crisper), brown rice, avocado, little pickled beet strands, roasted sweet potato batons and appealing, roasted firm tofu enhanced by a soy-based marinade. Verdict: thumbs up.
Next stop, Alchemy, a place committed to promoting healthy lifestyles that it is literally connected to a gym. Fortunately, consuming Alchemy's bowls, salads, sandwiches, juices and smoothies is far more enjoyable than working out.
Placing my order at the cafeteria-type setup, I noticed something that reminded me of my Fusian experience: The special I'd come to try — the Fusian smoothie — costs $9, whereas most of Alchemy's other smoothies are around $7.
After finally receiving that smoothie — Alchemy was moderately busy, and it took a while — I got a dense, milkshake-thick liquid the color of moss. The smoothie had an unexpected but agreeable, spearmint-like flavor due to the way its ginger component interacted with banana, orange and pineapple and its green ingredients of avocado and spirulina. Verdict: a bit pricey but oddly compelling.